By Patte Purcell
It is now legal for you to grow up to 6 plants per person and a total of 12 for 2 people at your home or location recreationally in California.
While you may want to check with your local municipality to ensure they allow outdoor growing in your area it is a fun project that you may enjoy if you are into gardening.
If you want to grow indoors there are plenty of hydroponic and light companies that will be happy to assist you.
There are even small indoor units that allow you to grow one plant at a time in a cabinet. It takes a lot of the work out of it. Just like any herb, fruit, vegetable or flower, it’s exciting to ‘grow your own’.
So how do you do this? Well you can use seeds that you can purchase. The main disadvantage is that you will get male and female plants. It’s important to remove the male plants. This can be tough for a beginner. If you do not remove the males they will pollinate the plants rendering them non flowering.
It’s a lot easier to buy a ‘clone’. Clones range in price from $10 to $15 and larger ones or ‘teenagers’ which are already about 3 feet tall run about $45 or $50. The obvious advantage is you already have a feminized plant with proven genetics. The clones are genetically identical to the ‘Mother’ and there is no genetic variation. Clones get you past the ‘germination process’ which can be difficult. They can quickly grow into ‘Mothers’ for re-cloning. What is a clone? It’s a leaf taken from the mother planet dipped in hormone powder and rooted.
It’s not for the beginner but it does speed up the process of growing your garden by about 3 to 4 weeks for clones, and up to 6 weeks for ‘teenagers’.
Cloning saves you time and money by not having to pop new seeds.
Where can you get seeds or clones? Most dispensaries have clones for you to purchase or you can purchase them online in California. Seeds can also be purchased online.
Growing your own cannabis can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging, frustrating, and expensive. For the first-time grower with limited resources, an indoor grow can prove too costly to be an option. The good news is that a small outdoor garden can yield plenty of quality cannabis without a large monetary investment. If you have access to a sunny spot in a private yard or even on a balcony, terrace, or rooftop, you can successfully grow cannabis.
It’s crucial to have a good understanding of the climate in the area where you live. Cannabis is highly adaptable to various conditions, but is still susceptible to extreme weather. Sustained temperatures above 86°F will cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 55°F can also cause damage and stunting, even death. Heavy rains and high winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce yields, and excessive moisture can lead to mold and powdery mildew, especially during flowering.
Choosing the location for your outdoor garden will be the most important decision you make, especially if you’re planting in the ground or in large, immobile containers (some plants grow outdoors in containers that can be moved around depending on the weather and location of the sun). Your cannabis plants should receive at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, ideally during midday when the quality of light is the best.
If you live in an area where sustained daytime temperatures are above 86°F, you might want to choose a spot that gets direct sun early in the day and filtered sun during the hottest parts of the day. An area that gets a constant breeze is also a good choice in hot climates, although this will increase water consumption. On the other hand, if you live in an area that sees a lot of high winds, you should consider planting near a windbreak of some sort, like a wall, fence, or large shrubbery. Those who live in cooler climates can benefit from planting near a feature that retains heat, like a south-facing brick wall or fence, while those in hot areas will definitely want to avoid these spots.
Finally, you will want to consider privacy and security. Most people will want to conceal their gardens from judgmental neighbors and potential thieves. Tall fences and large shrubs or trees are your best bet, unless you happen to live in a secluded area. Some folks plant in containers on balconies or rooftops that are shielded from view, while some build heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you decide to do, remember that outdoor cannabis plants can grow to 15 feet tall or more, so plan accordingly.
Soil is made up of three basic components in various ratios: Clay, Sand and Silt
Cannabis plants need well-drained, slightly acidic soil rich with organic matter in order to thrive. If you decide to plant directly in the ground, you’ll need to understand your soil composition and amend it accordingly.
Heavy clay soils drain slowly and don’t hold oxygen well, so they will need to be heavily amended. At least a month before you plant, dig large holes where you’ll be placing your cannabis plants and mix in large amounts of compost, manure, worm castings, or other decomposed organic matter. This will provide aeration and drainage as well as nutrients for the plants.
Sandy soil is easy to work, drains very well, and warms quickly, but doesn’t hold nutrients well, especially in rainy environments. Again, you will want to dig large holes for your plants and add things like compost, peat moss, and coco coir, which will help bind the soil together, providing food and air circulation. In hot climates, sandy soil should be mulched to help with water retention and to keep roots from getting too hot.
Silty soil is the ideal growing medium. It’s easy to work, warms quickly, holds moisture while also having good drainage, and contains a lot of nutrients. The best silty loam is found in prehistoric riverbeds and lake bottoms. This dark, crumbly soil is the most fertile, and will likely need little or no amendment.
If you really want to ensure good results and minimize headaches, having your soil tested is easy and relatively inexpensive. A soil testing service will tell you the makeup and pH of your soil, notify you of any contaminants, and also recommend amending materials and fertilizers.
Many long-time outdoor growers are dedicated to organic methods of fertilization because it takes full advantage of the microbial life in the soil and minimizes harmful runoff. There are many different natural and organic fertilizers available at your local home and garden store like blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, bat guano, and kelp meal. Educating yourself about what they are and how they work will be extremely useful.
Next time we’ll give you additional tips on ‘growing your own’. Happy planting!
Patte Purcell is in the medical marijuana industry and produces 420 friendly industry events. Her next one is Monday Nov. 6, from 4:20 to 7:20 at the Elena Bulatova Gallery on El Paseo. To get an invitation, text your name and email to her at 1-702-219-6777.